first 744 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) was officially formed at
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on 1 March 1943. It operated the Short SB.6
Seamew, but these caused difficulties due to weak tailwheels which
tended to collapse on landing. The Squadron was re-designated 754
NAS in June 1944 because another 744 NAS was formed in the UK,
presumably due to an administrative error.
second 744 NAS had formed at Maydown, Londonderry, on 6 March 1944
for Merchant Aircraft Carrier training. Equipped with 18 Swordfish,
it provided trained crews for the locally based 836 NAS with live
armament and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training at Machrihanish
and deck landings aboard escort carriers in the Firth of Clyde. By
late-1944, the Squadron was equipped with Barracudas and in May 1945
the Swordfish were withdrawn. Fireflies were briefly used from July
1945 but on 22 September 744 NAS reduced from 12 Barracudas and 6
Fireflies to 6 Barracuda IIIs.
NAS moved in October 1945 to nearby Eglinton, having then become
fully engaged on delivering ASW training with Ansons flown from
August 1946. The Squadron at this time worked in tandem with 719
NAS, co-operating with the Derry Squadron which comprised Loch-class
Frigates and submarines. This organisation, along with the sonobuoy
tracking school, became known as the Joint Anti-Submarine School
housed in the former Army barracks in Londonderry. When 744 NAS was
considered up to strength with trained crews it was elevated to
‘first line’ status and accordingly became 815 NAS on 1 December
NAS next formed on 20 July 1951 as a Trials and Development Squadron
within the Naval Air ASW School at Eglinton, near Londonderry.
Equipped with a few Fireflies, Barracudas and Ansons, it engaged in
trials and development of search receivers to detect submarine
radar. ‘Investigation Pointer’ was a trial conversion of the
Barracuda ASV Mk.XI for this purpose, and another such project was
codenamed ‘Orange Harvest’ which eventually saw service in the RAF
Shackletons. After trials at Farnborough, two Fireflies were fitted
with a new homing device for finding sonobuoys in the water without
the need for smoke markers and these went to Malta in October 1951
for trials with submarines and ships. 744 NAS also acted as Station
Flight by 1953 with an assortment of aircraft before disbanding at
Eglinton on 1 March 1954.
the same day, 744 NAS reformed at RNAS Culdrose as the Naval Air-Sea
Warfare Development Unit to work alongside ASWDU at RAF St Mawgan.
The Squadron subsequently moved to St Mawgan on 23 October 1954.
Equipped initially with Firefly AS.6s on which various trials were
carried out under such codenames as ‘Talbe’, ‘Homer’ and ‘Random’.
Gannets were added in May 1955, followed 2 months later by Avengers
and the Firefly soon withdrawn later in the year. An ‘X’ Flight was
formed on the 11 June 1955 for evaluation of radar jamming. In
October 1955 744 NAS was restyled as the Naval ASW Development
Squadron. The Avengers were withdrawn in February 1956 and on 20
April 1956 dummy rocket projectile dives were commenced at Lilstock
Range. Due to the Suez crisis, 744 NAS disbanded on 31 October 1956
with its trials task then being carried out elsewhere within ASWDU.
NAS recommissioned at MOD Boscombe Down on 24 October 2018 through
the renaming of the Mission Systems and Armament (MS&ARM) Test and
Evaluation Squadron. Personnel are involved primarily in
Independent Technical Evaluation working within the ATEC construct
as well as providing SME advice to Frontline Commands and Project
anyone more Informations about this Squadron -